Written by Adetola Olatunji
Small business owners have much be optimistic about in 2015, and their optimism bodes well for the overall positive trends for the U.S. economy. According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the major drivers of economic change in the U.S. are quite confident in what’s to come this year. The NFIB’s monthly Optimism Index is at the highest level we have seen since October 2006. Eight of the 10 index components experienced positive gains between November and December 2014. Major highlights of the index include 54% of business owners indicating they were looking to hire, 20% expecting a sales gain in December, and 17% planning to raise compensation levels in the coming months.
Comprising around 50% of the country’s GDP, small businesses play a critical role in the overall success of our economy. Positivity from small businesses at large gives Americans at large much to be optimistic about as well in 2015. NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg confirms this linkage. “There’s no question that small business owners are feeling better about the economy”, he states in reflection on the December 2014 Optimism Index. “If they continue to feel that way, 2015 could be a very good year.”
The successes and positive outlook of small businesses in are familiar, yet exciting to hear at ICIC. Through our programs and partnerships over the last year, we have seen many of their success stories first hand. Through the 2014 Inner City 100 Program, we celebrated 5,119 new jobs the businesses highlighted on the list created over the last five years. Through the Inner City Capital Connections 2014 Impact Report, we announced that program participants have raised $1.22 billion in capital since the program’s inception in 2005. And through our partnership with Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, we marveled at the fact that 64% of business owners who completed the program had increased their revenues by an average of 68% within six months of graduation. With so many small business successes to report, we applaud the promising momentum for the sector as we dive deeper into 2015.
Having recognized the optimism and celebrated the past successes of small businesses, how do we keep the momentum alive this year? Here are some of the main trends that small businesses need to watch as they look to add new success stories to 2015:
We have much to be excited about as we look at economy trends in the U.S. for 2015. If small businesses remain optimistic and implement strategies based on the critical trends for the sector, 2015 could indeed be a breakout year for small businesses.